David Vogt was set to lead the defending state champion Durango High School football team in 2021 for a ninth season as the Demons’ head coach. The 2020 Class 3A coach of the year won’t get the chance.
Durango School District 9-R informed parents Wednesday morning that it had parted ways with Vogt. That came after several weeks of speculation among players. Vogt was placed on leave the last day of the school year, and the district had hoped he would submit his resignation. When that did not happen, the district had to go through a formal process of removing him. The decision to not continue his coaching contract was approved at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“I had a great experience at Durango High School,” Vogt said. “It was absolutely my intention to come back and repeat as state champions, and that’s what I told the kids. The hardest part the last few weeks has been not being able to talk to the kids or parents.”
The district declined to comment on the reason for Vogt’s removal. Vogt said he was told it was for leadership issues.
Vogt is slated to return to his physical education teaching duties during the upcoming school year.
In the letter to football parents, the district thanked Vogt, who went 59-29 overall after taking over the team before the 2013 season. The last win was the biggest, a 21-14 triumph in the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 3A state championship game against Roosevelt.
“The Durango High School football program would like to thank David Vogt for his multiple years of leadership, time and energy that he poured into the program,” the letter to parents said. “The administration has chosen to move forward in a different direction and looks forward to a new chapter in Demons Football and its ongoing success. Our goal is to provide our students and their families with the best possible experience and best opportunities for success on the field and in the classroom.”
The head coach position was listed on the district’s job board Wednesday morning. Durango 9-R athletic director Ryan Knorr said search committees would be formed as soon as June 30 with the intention of hiring a new head coach as soon as possible. In the mean time, Knorr and the assistant coaches on staff have been organizing workouts.
“We want to assure you that the program is in great hands as we interview and consider the next steps for the head coach position; our previous assistant coaches who are cleared with the district have been running successful summer programs thus far,” the district said in the letter to parents. “There is great support within the program, including coaches who will return and have been with the program for years. We are optimistic with some potential new additions to the coaching staff, additions that all bring great experience and some who are returning to the program. We have a dedicated, experienced, athletic group of players who we expect will make another run at the state title. The future is bright.”
The 2020 season saw the Demons win their first league championship under Vogt. His teams had never advanced further than the state quarterfinals until last year, when a squad loaded with senior leaders who had played together since third grade delivered the program its first title since 1954.
It is Durango High’s only outright football state championship in school history, as the 1954 title came in a tie and was split with Lamar. DHS is now 1-3-1 all time in state title games.
“I think I figured out the recipe to win a state championship through these eight years,” Vogt said. “We’ve been blessed with amazing kids who bought into the system the coaching staff was trying to run. I felt like we did it the right way. We pushed the kids and developed them to the highest level we could take them.”
After the 2020 season, Vogt had applied for the head coaching job at Erie High School near Boulder when Rob Matz resigned after the 2020 season. The job went to Chad Cooper. Vogt said the decision to apply at Erie was family based, as his parents are in the Denver area.
But Vogt said he planned to stay at DHS where he had a good team returning, though some assistant coaching changes were in the works. Vogt said as many as five assistant positions were open ahead of the 2021 season. Notably, offensive coordinator Ryan Woolverton had stepped away from the team in the last month.
“He’s dedicated so much time to everyone else’s kids,” Woolverton said of Vogt. "He’s made such a positive impact in so many kids, including my two sons. They love him like a brother, and the lessons they learned in his program have made them better men off the field. He has rebuilt a program and turned it into a premier program in the state. What he has done here will be felt for years to come.”
Offensive line coach Mike Sutter had also stepped away. DHS has produced a slew of offensive linemen heading on to big-time college football in recent years. Carver Willis, a 2020 graduate, played for Kansas State last season. Ethan Ryan is on his way to CSU-Pueblo next season, while returning linemen Walter Stauffer and Joshua Bates have Division I offers, with Bates considered a three-star recruit going into his junior season already with scholarship offers from the nation’s biggest programs.
A product of Texas, Vogt played football at Texas Lutheran University. He knew he wanted to get into coaching, and he spent one year on the staff of his father’s team at Chaparral High School in Parker before he got the job interview at Durango High School under then athletic director Sheldon Keresey.
After Vogt took the job, Keresey would soon become Vogt’s father-in-law, as he married Durango High alumna Colleen Vogt, who was the head volleyball coach at DHS before she resigned ahead of the 2020 season after the two had welcomed their first child, Troy.
With Troy now a 1-year-old, Vogt said he would enjoy more time with his young family.
“There have been a ton of blessings since I got to Durango. This one downfall won’t change that,” Vogt said. “The good thing is that I’m spending time with Troy and my wife, and that has been a blessing in disguise.”
Vogt, who led Durango’s defensive play calling, said he still has a desire to be a football coach and will look to new opportunities in the future.
“That’s who I am as a person. I am a coach,” Vogt said. “Even throughout this time, I’ve been looking at what I can improve through my coaching career and how I can get better. It will always be a huge part of my life.
Until he finds his next coaching position, Vogt said he hopes to reconnect with those who had helped him during his time leading the Demons.
“I just want to thank all the parents and players who have supported me along the way. I appreciate all the kids who have come out of the program, and I am thankful a lot of them still keep in contact,” he said. “It’s been an amazing experience. Any of my former players who want to reach out, please reach out. This has been a tough process.”